Theory of gelation, vitrification, and activated barrier hopping in mixtures of hard and sticky spheres

Douglas C. Viehman, Kenneth S. Schweizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Naive mode coupling theory (NMCT) and the nonlinear stochastic Langevin equation theory of activated dynamics have been generalized to mixtures of spherical particles. Two types of ideal nonergodicity transitions are predicted corresponding to localization of both, or only one, species. The NMCT transition signals a dynamical crossover to activated barrier hopping dynamics. For binary mixtures of equal diameter hard and attractive spheres, a mixture composition sensitive "glass-melting" type of phenomenon is predicted at high total packing fractions and weak attractions. As the total packing fraction decreases, a transition to partial localization occurs corresponding to the coexistence of a tightly localized sticky species in a gel-like state with a fluid of hard spheres. Complex behavior of the localization lengths and shear moduli exist because of the competition between excluded volume caging forces and attraction-induced physical bond formation between sticky particles. Beyond the NMCT transition, a two-dimensional nonequilibrium free energy surface emerges, which quantifies cooperative activated motions. The barrier locations and heights are sensitive to the relative amplitude of the cooperative displacements of the different species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084509
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Theory of gelation, vitrification, and activated barrier hopping in mixtures of hard and sticky spheres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this